The American job creation machine was re-ignited in April after a disappointing March. Payrolls grew by 211,000 jobs in the months and unemployment fell to 4.4 percent, the lowest since May 2007.
The consensus forecast of economists was for job growth of 185,000 and for a slight increase in unemployment.
A broader measure of unemployment known as U-6, which includes people not actively looking for jobs as well as workers who can only find part-time jobs, fell to 8.6 percent from 8.9 percent in March, the lowest level since November 2007. Somewhat strangely, the decline in unemployment and rise in job creation was accompanied by a tick downward in the labor force participation rate to 62.9 percent.
Wages grew seven cents an hour to an annualized pace of 2.5 percent, a decline from March’s 2.7 percent rate. Economists had expected wage growth to remain unchanged.
The decline in the pace of wage growth may partly be explained by types of jobs that were created in March. These were concentrated in less productive, lower paying fields, with leisure and hospitality leading the way with 55,000 positions.
March now seems to have been even more dismal than originally thought. The initial read of 98,000 jobs was revised down to 79,000, a remarkably low number. February, however, was revised upward to 232,000 from 219,000.
Overall, the report suggests that the economy is growing at a healthy pace despite the poor jobs number in March and sluggish first quarter GDP showing.